If your marriage ended in divorce and you were awarded sole custody of the children, then your ex was likely ordered to pay child support. Your ex husband or wife may have sent intermittent payments, or even gone for extended periods of time without paying at all. Regardless of how your ex paid, you may be considering suing him or her for child support arrears, even though your children are now adults. Should you proceed?
The amount owed
If your ex owes thousands of dollars, then you should definitely talk with an attorney, like Ivy Law Group PLLC, that focuses on family law. It doesn't matter that your children are now adults, because there was obviously a court order in place in the past, that your ex ignored. However, if on the other hand your ex only owes a small amount, then it may not be worth it to sue. Retaining a lawyer might cost more than what is even owed. Since your situation will be more complicated than say drawing up a will, you'll most likely pay the lawyer on an hourly basis. Costhelper.com says that family law cases can range from hundreds to thousands of dollars.
Are you amicable with your ex?
If you and your ex are able to communicate in a reasonable manner without arguing, then perhaps an agreement can be reached in which the child support arrears will be paid. The potential stress of court can be avoided if you're able to convince your former spouse to pay all the back child support that is owed. However, if your children's mother or father is not reasonable, and you are unsuccessful at coming up with an agreement, then you may very well have to file a suit.
What state do you live in?
Each state is different when it comes to child support laws, so you need to consult with a family law attorney in order to understand the laws in your particular state. If the child support order originated in a state like North Carolina, then a child must be supported as long as they are in school, even if they are over 18. This can continue through age 20. In some states, support stops automatically at the age of 18. However, regardless of the state in which the child support was ordered, child support arrears must be paid in-full, regardless of the children's ages. The only way a non-custodial parent would no longer be obligated to pay the arrears is if the custodial parent agrees to forgiveness.
When a couple gets married and has children, it's both of their responsibilities to provide for the children, regardless if they eventually divorce. If you are owed child support arrears and your children have reached adulthood, there are ways to go about receiving this money. If all your initial efforts are unsuccessful, then suing for the arrears may be your best course of action.